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Is the new £5 note more hygienic?

Jul 07 2017, 10:36 AM

When you hear the words ‘dirty money’, what instantly comes to mind? Bank robberies? Noir style gangsters? Well, sometimes it doesn’t apply to the world of criminals and excess at all but instead actual… dirt.

Now that old paper form of the £5 note is no more we wanted to find out how dirty the old fivers were in comparison to the new polymer notes.

Three paper and three polymer £5 notes were put through a series of hygienic tests to find out how much bacteria the contained.

How the tests were conducted:
Scientists at the microbiology lab took samples from each of the six notes, rubbing the swab all over each side to ensure it picked up as much testing material as possible.

They then put each swab in a 10ml saline solution (a solution made up of salt and water) before extracting 1ml from each to place in a petri dish.

Agar (a mixture commonly used as a thickener in foods) was added to each one and the dishes were then placed in an incubator for three days.

After this time, any bacteria found on the notes would grow into colonies to work out just how dirty each note is.

The Results:

Polymer £5 Note 1.1

The test didn’t detect a single colony on this new fiver!

Polymer £5 Note 1.2

Only one bacteria colony was found on this polymer £5 note.  

Polymer £5 Note 1.3 

This polymer £5 note had only two colonies growing on it.  

Paper £5 Note 1.4 

This old paper £5 note had eight colonies. In laboratory testing this isn’t considered a high amount but nevertheless it is a significant increase from the new polymer fivers.  

Paper £5 Note 1.5 

This old paper £5 note had the largest amount of bacteria colonies out of all the notes tested, with 11 in total!

Paper £5 Note 1.6 

Tests discovered that this old £5 note note had two bacteria colonies present.  

The overall results prove that the new polymer £5 notes are much cleaner than the old paper variety. Overall the the new polymer fivers are 7 times cleaner in comparison making them a more hygienic and safer choice.
The new £10 polymer note is due for release in September 2017 and the new £20 note is predicted to launch in 2020. At this moment in time, there are no plans to produce polymer £50 notes.

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